I don't get out much. When I was nine-years-old I believed some lies someone told me about myself and I've spent the past twenty-...
The Weeding of the Soul
I don't get out much. When I was nine-years-old I believed some lies someone told me about myself and I've spent the past twenty-four years trying to unbelieve them. But lies are like weeds, and when they drive those roots deep down into you, it gets to be such a tangle. Separating them from your actual self, from what is actually really true about you, feels like a monumental task and hey, eating that cookie and reading that book sound WAY more doable, don'tcha think?
That's the danger of telling people they're ugly, foolish, laughable. Of telling them they are less, or fundamentally wrong at the core of themselves.
There's a lot to be said for "putting on your big girl panties" and just "getting over it." I've heard variations on that theme many times over the years. But it only worked once. And only because it was said by the right person on the right day in the right tone of amused, exasperated fondness. That person told me to think about the kind of people I liked to spend time with, figure out WHY I enjoyed them, and then try to BE that kind of person.
And I did. And I have. And I'm a kinder, more reaching-out and loving person because of it.
But when I leave my house the old lies creep back in on me. The ones that tell me I look ridiculous. That I should wear dark or quiet colours so I can hide. Fade. Not make a nuisance of myself. The lies that tell me whatever I'm thinking of saying is wrong. Not funny enough. Not interesting enough. Hit the mental backspace key. Try again. Think of something clever. Something perfect. Something JUST RIGHT. Then you may speak. If you're brave enough.
You're not brave enough, Kim, the lies tell me. You know you've never been brave. Or clever. Or anything worthwhile. You really should have stayed home. It would have been better. For everyone.
Small wonder that every time I write something on the calendar that will require me to leave the house my chest seizes, my heart thumps a rhythm that could serve as the percussion for an upbeat reggae song, and for just a second or two, I forget what breathing is. And when I actually dare to touch the doorknob, the full on panic attack kicks into gear, multiplied by the number of children I'm taking with me and the number of expectations waiting on the other end of the car ride.
And I know that's wrong. I know that's not how I should be. And I know that I CAN be so much more, so much better, so much happier than that. The lies tell me I'm not clever but I am. Clever enough to know that the best way to fight quiet lies is to shout the truth as loudly as possible.
So when I'm not being too quiet I'm being too loud. I wear bright colours and too much make up. I push myself to say ALL THE THINGS. I'm so damn brave I'm annoying.
And in between the truth and the lies I know there's a place where things are easier. Where I don't give into the lies but I don't have to fight them so hard either. I visit there sometimes, when I'm with the right person at the right time saying the right things. There's a beautiful stillness. An easiness. A peace. And then the lies or the desperation to prove them wrong rips me away and I'm left longing for those places and times when I can just breathe and be.
I'm leaving my house in a big way later this month. For days. Alone. And already I feel the side-to-side tugging. Will I succumb to lie-plagued quiet? Will I turn everything into a joke, laugh loudly, hijack conversations, and wear a horrifying amount of eye make up? Or will I slip into the quiet place between, smile serenely at the lies and murmur, "There was never any truth to you. And it's time to weed you out of my soul."
VanderVision Tip of the Day: Just because the lies have become a part of you doesn't mean you can't weed them out.
About author: Kimberly VanderHorst
Kimberly Vanderhorst wrote her first book when she was seven (it was totally awesome, but the world isn't ready for it yet), and her next when she was twenty-seven. When asked to account for the intervening decades, she likes to suggest the possibility of alien abduction with as straight a face as possible.